How 1 Challenge Grant Saved This Capital Campaign
A rural public district hospital in the Tri-Cities area of Washington found its capital campaign stalled. This campaign conducted 10 years ago was important. It was launched to expand and improve the hospital’s emergency department to better meet the needs of its growing community, then exploding with the infusion of fantastic new wineries.
Residents within the district help fund a small percentage of the hospital’s operating revenue through taxes. The hospital’s capital campaign committee in this rural community faced the challenge of a good portion of potential donors feeling they were already paying enough.
Working with a capital campaign consultant, the hospital reached two-thirds of the campaign goal fairly quickly, but then the campaign stalled. There were more donors out there, but these individuals, corporations and foundations were either declining personal solicitations or were not making decisions on solicitations that were already made. The campaign needed a major injection of renewed interest and confidence in the project to meet its goal.
The hospital’s consultant had experience working with rural hospitals and knew that the Kresge Foundation had programs that supported these specific capital needs. The consultant worked side-by-side with the hospital and became very involved in completing the application, including making friends within Kresge’s staff. At the end of the application process, Kresge understood the benefits an expanded emergency department would bring to the region and, equally important, they knew how a matching grant from such a prestigious foundation could help finish the project.
With these things in mind, Kresge offered a grant to pay half of the campaign’s balance if the community donated the other half within six months. The campaign’s next step was to publicize the grant in the local newspaper and educate the community on the significance of winning the confidence of one of our country’s greatest foundations. The grant provided the hospital new evidence with which to seek the support of donors and a deadline. Donors responded.
To the delight of everyone involved, the hospital reached its campaign goal within three months! The campaign had been stalled for twice that long. Potential donors were reluctant to believe in the campaign until a recognized expert came forward. Kresge’s challenge grant provided the money, credibility and momentum to expand and improve this rural community’s emergency care.
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Kevin Wallace is president of CampaignCounsel.org, specializing in capital campaign planning and management. Kevin has 16 years of capital campaign experience, conducting more than 70 campaign planning studies and capital campaigns around the country that have raised more than $175 million. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.campaigncounsel.org.